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 Mao's 09/10 programs from a different perspective?

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iceskatingfan
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PostSubject: Mao's 09/10 programs from a different perspective?   Fri Apr 02, 2010 4:37 am

Mao got a lot of criticism this season for skating to music/programs that many people thought didn't suit her soft, ethereal skating. I think a lot of people who regularly follow figure skating could see how that can be true.

So I was wondering, what do people who know nothing of Mao think of her programs this season? Do they think the programs overwhelm her and are too heavy? Did the programs look ill-fitting for Mao to someone who has never seen her skate before?

I agree that Mao skates best to softer music, but I applaud her for skating to such challenging music this season. I'm glad she tries to diversify and face new challenges =]. By the end of the season, you could really see how the program evolved and I think she really put all her heart and soul into it and it showed. She made "Bells" her own. However, I would disagree with people who think her Masquerade program was heavy also. I thought it was actually very light and joyous feeling! She smiled so much throughout that program =D.

When I try and think about her programs from a new viewer's perspective, I think I would see how skilled and graceful of a skater she is and how powerful the music sounds. I'm not sure if I would think the music is too heavy for her or drowns her.

What do you guys think? I don't know many people who care about figure skating who I can ask, but maybe some of you have friends who saw Mao skate for the first time? Or what would you think if you put yourselves in the position of a new viewer?
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PostSubject: Re: Mao's 09/10 programs from a different perspective?   Fri Apr 02, 2010 11:08 am

My friends from Academy who know nothing about skating enjoyed Mao's Bells program. And then I showed them Mao's Chopin long program- they were not very impressed. Razz
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PostSubject: Re: Mao's 09/10 programs from a different perspective?   Fri Apr 02, 2010 12:41 pm

My brother called me after the ladies' free broadcast from the Olys (actually admitting he was watching figure skating for the first time but that he did it for Joannie) and said "this Mao with the red and black dress, is she your Mao?" ( Wub ) He sais he thought many of the others had good, "pretty" skates, but that Mao is the only one that had him on the edge of his seat. "Even though she made mistakes, I thought I was watching something special. Is the season over? Can I see her again?" I showed him some older skates, including Nocturne and Fantasie Impromptu and he was even more impressed that a soft little girl like that could pull off such a firey program. He was very excited for Worlds, called me five times to make sure he had the right broadcast time (and I was stunned...) and finally came over to my place to watch Mao skate.

He wants to follow her next season. Some context here: I've been a die-hard figure skating fan for a long while and when I talk about it (which is a lot), my brother usually pats me on the head, rolls his eyes and says "yeah yeah I know..." He says he can't take a judged sport seriously. But now he actually wants to watch it (although he told me he might need to be kept from breaking anything because of the judges... lol)... because of Mao, because he thought her program and interpretation were something special and because he wants to see more of what she can do. Many Hearts
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PostSubject: Re: Mao's 09/10 programs from a different perspective?   Fri Apr 02, 2010 12:47 pm

iceskatingfan wrote:

Did the programs look ill-fitting for Mao to someone who has never seen her skate before?

Unfortunately, I have to say yes. I wasn't sure what I though at the begining of the season but now I believe team Mao has really made several big mistakes.
The first one being keeping Masqerade. I hate keeping programs in general and to keep the one that was never that well received and people were tired of it even last season was not very smart, imho.
Second, having the FP to another heavy and repetitive music.
Third, the costumes. I was not too fond of any of the costumes this season. I liked the one from Japan Open and the newest one for Masqerade the best but I still think Mao deserves much better.

I hate to bring Yu-Na to this discussion again, but to be honest, I think she was overal much better packaged this season. She had absolutely beautiful costumes and I believe it definitely played part in the PCS difference and the comments how Yu-Na is much more elegant and looks like a woman. On the other hand Mao's red FP comstume really didn't do her any justice at all. I hope she never wears anything like that again!
If one watched the two of them just standing or stroking on the ice, I have to admit Yu-Na looked much better.

Today, I watched WTT's Claire de Lune again and could appreciate even more how beautiful a program it really was and how it really highlighted all her strengths!
I've already mentioned some pretty ridiculous comments from our commentators but this one is something special too. After the FS one of the commentators said that Mao is not such a dancer or so artistic as Yu-Na but her team did a very good job at finding her some really dramatic music that makes her interpretation more credible. affraid
Well, he obviously knows nothing about figure skating and Mao but I think even someone like him couldn't possibly say such a thing about a program like Clair de Lune!

So, I think the current programs are indeed rather ill-fitting for Mao to someone who's not familiar with her skating when they make them think the programs are used to actually hide her weaknesses and not let them see what a beautiful, lyrical, soft and elegant skater she really is.

Another example might be my grandmother who has a lot of experience in dancing and so expressing the music well through the body is extremely important to her. I didn't tell her anything about Mao and she absolutely loved her Clair de Lune interpretation.
Then I showed her Yu-Na's Danse Macabre from Worlds, again without saying anything and surprisingly she didn't like it at all!
I'm sure though she wouldn't like Mao if I showed her this season's programs.

I also noticed Mao has always skated to very repetitive music for her FP since entering the senior scence.
I would really like to see her skate to something with more variation in tempo for change.

I'm sorry if I sound overly critical. Mao has always been absolutely the best for me! I also understand and admire her desire to stretch herself artistically an not playing it safe in musical choices either.
I just wish she could do it in a way that it all works much better for her than it did this season.
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PostSubject: Re: Mao's 09/10 programs from a different perspective?   Fri Apr 02, 2010 2:28 pm

Looking back at Mao's programs this season, I wish Mao had used them in the /previous/ season.

Masquerade Waltz worked much better as a SP, and I think I could have loved this program if it wasn't for the fact that, as kawaiimao said, I don't think it was a good idea to keep a program (especially in the Olympic season, especially a program that was not that well received by the judges). If it was used as a SP from the beginning, I think it would be much better received.

Bells, I think, would also be much more suited for the previous season. It is a common thing to see skaters experiment with different styles in the pre-Olympic season, so I think Mao might have even been praised for trying something new. This season, sadly, it wasn't seen as "new" anymore - it was just another LP set to repetitive music, and to make things worse, the order of all the elements was exactly the same as in Masquerade. And the dress didn't help things much. Sad

However, if Mao skated those programs last season, in dresses that suit her more, I think "Masquerade" and "Bells" could be loved by fans just like other Mao's programs.

In the Olympic season, I would have liked Mao to chose programs that would really highlight her best qualities. I agree with kawaiimao, this is exactly what YuNa did - found music, programs and dresses that match her style and highlight her best points.

Coming back to Mao, this is what I would have loved like to see:
SP: A dance-y, joyful, snappy program - like Tango or Caprices. Both of those programs highlighted Mao's unique style, but at the same time proved that she's not just a "soft" skater, and can skate to more dynamic, energetic music with changes in the tempo and bring out the passion and energy of this music.

LP: a soft, balletic, lyrical program that would tell a story. Something like a longer version of "So Deep is the Night" (saying goodbye to Aero! Laughing), with touches of "Nocturne" (turning into a hand that dances on the piano's keys). I think that when there's a background story, Mao is able to skate with more emotions. As for the music - Chopin, Ravel or maybe something like "Butterfly Lovers Concerto" would work great for Mao.

I would love to see Tania Bass design dresses for Mao, considering the fact that Tania herself said that she would like to design outfits for her. Smile

Well, there's still next season... Wub
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PostSubject: Re: Mao's 09/10 programs from a different perspective?   Fri Apr 02, 2010 3:08 pm

kawaiimao wrote:

Another example might be my grandmother who has a lot of experience in dancing and so expressing the music well through the body is extremely important to her. I didn't tell her anything about Mao and she absolutely loved her Clair de Lune interpretation.
Then I showed her Yu-Na's Danse Macabre from Worlds, again without saying anything and surprisingly she didn't like it at all!

That was exactly my experience with my friend who is also ballet-crazy like me!! I showed her some men's skating, and then I showed her Yu-Na's 'Bond Girl' program, and she was like, uggh, this is so boring. And then I showed her Mao's WTT 'Clair de Lune,' and immediately, she said, 'this girl is soo much better.' flower

But I agree--Mao's programs this year are not the programs I would show people first to make them Mao fans.

My mom and aunt both really like Mao, and both of them absolutely hated the dark, heavy "Bells." So did my grandparents. And the costumes.

I politely disagree with Oscilla about 'Masquerade Waltz.' Very Happy Johnny Weir said he thought it worked better as a long program, and I agree; I think it was much more interesting when Mao was doing it as a dark program; when she was playing Nina. I enjoyed watching Mao play the young girl at her first Ball, but I think it would have worked soo much better if they had used a pretty waltz piece instead of the same ominous-sounding music. Even if they left the choreography exactly the same, I think it could have worked better.

I agree with Oscilla that a danc-y, joyful program would have been great for the SP, and would have provided good contrast to her dark LP. This is what Machiko-sensei suggested too. Yep!

Please, can someone tell Mao she needs new costumes??? Mai, Machiko-sensei, please help!!!

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PostSubject: Re: Mao's 09/10 programs from a different perspective?   Fri Apr 02, 2010 3:32 pm

Batsuchan wrote:

That was exactly my experience with my friend who is also ballet-crazy like me!! I showed her some men's skating, and then I showed her Yu-Na's 'Bond Girl' program, and she was like, uggh, this is so boring. And then I showed her Mao's WTT 'Clair de Lune,' and immediately, she said, 'this girl is soo much better.' flower

lol! We actually also started with men's skating! I wanted to show my grandma something more of Dai than what she could see at the exhibition and liked very much.
Than I added some Lambiel who I knew she would like too and when we were at it I of course couldn't resist to do the Mao - Yu-Na comparison. Very Happy
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PostSubject: Re: Mao's 09/10 programs from a different perspective?   Sat Apr 03, 2010 4:06 pm

chiyori, that's an amazing story! You must be really glad to have someone to follow Mao with next season!

I showed my friend (who doesn't watch figure skating) Mao's Bells program from Worlds, and she was really impressed. She was shocked when I told her people said this program didn't do anything for Mao, that it was all wrong for her, that she didn't express it well. She said it was really powerful and passionate and impressive throughout the whole thing, like how she holds/curls her hands during the spiral sequence and how she lets go/explodes during the step sequence. As a first time viewer of Mao, my friend loved Bells. Of course, when I show her Mao's softer programs, she might love those more. I'll let you know Smile
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PostSubject: Re: Mao's 09/10 programs from a different perspective?   Sun Apr 04, 2010 8:37 pm

I forced some of my guy friends to watch the ladies short program during the Olympics. Razz They noted that Mao is so light on her feet but Kim was more powerful so they understood why she got a higher score. However, they all thought that Mao looked prettier. Hell, no!

Btw, have you realized that some of Mao's biggest critics now were actually her fans a few years ago? They claim they were her fans in the past but yet they are so harsh on her during her struggles. It just make me a little sad. Sad
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PostSubject: Re: Mao's 09/10 programs from a different perspective?   Sun Apr 04, 2010 8:48 pm

I have to agree that costumes and the music is playing a big part at least in making a good impression on the judges and on how fond they are of the programme as a whole.

Mao's costumes are not ugly at all. They are very pretty and unique in design, however, I find them covering most of her arms, and even her palms.. basically her whole hands (lol does that even make sense). I personally believe that you can judge the expressiveness of the hand gestures and movements much more easily (and hence, much more impressive) when your hands aren't covered in .. black. Not saying that Mao should wear more revealing costumes (most costumes are't "Revealing" anyway, the just use cloths that match the skaters' skin tone), but at least the costume should be able to optimize Mao's presentation of her body movements, and her costumes this season aren't really doing that job.

As for the music, again, I have to say personally I like her choice of music for this season a lot, however, it is not very crowd pleasing music isn't it... (compared to Mirai or Yuna's music). Even when Mao could express the music VERY well (the angst, energy and explosiveness), these types of emotions are not as well received as the flirty, joyful, elegant emotions (which I believe is extremely overplayed in figure skating already)- yet that's what people like to watch. Mad Figure skating should be a more flexible art, and yet people limit themselves on how and what makes figure skating artsy. sigh. Hence I always enjoy watching the Men's competition a lot more.. they tend to be crazier and a lot more creative when it comes to music choice and costumes.

All in all, I do not think that Mao has to "improve" her programs, I like it the way they are, but, if she wants to win, she just needs to change her programs that fits the crowd's taste .. for better or for worse..
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PostSubject: Re: Mao's 09/10 programs from a different perspective?   Mon Apr 05, 2010 3:59 am

ericacsy wrote:

Mao's costumes are not ugly at all. They are very pretty and unique in design, however, I find them covering most of her arms, and even her palms.. basically her whole hands (lol does that even make sense). I personally believe that you can judge the expressiveness of the hand gestures and movements much more easily (and hence, much more impressive) when your hands aren't covered in .. black. Not saying that Mao should wear more revealing costumes (most costumes are't "Revealing" anyway, the just use cloths that match the skaters' skin tone), but at least the costume should be able to optimize Mao's presentation of her body movements, and her costumes this season aren't really doing that job.

Totally agree with this. I think Mao shoudn't wear sleeves at all to really show how beautiful her arms are. I would like to see her wear something like this again: http://maomaiasada.com/photos/mao/0506/japanopen.html
Still probably my favorite costume. Love Hearts

ericacsy wrote:

Hence I always enjoy watching the Men's competition a lot more.. they tend to be crazier and a lot more creative when it comes to music choice and costumes.


You've just reminded me of how I enjoyed Adrian Schultheiss's program!
Very original and simply brilliant!!! Thumbs up!
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PostSubject: Re: Mao's 09/10 programs from a different perspective?   Mon Apr 05, 2010 4:15 am

Quote :
Totally agree with this. I think Mao shoudn't wear sleeves at all to really show how beautiful her arms are. I would like to see her wear something like this again: http://maomaiasada.com/photos/mao/0506/japanopen.html
Still probably my favorite costume. Love Hearts

Oh I've never seen that dress before, it's so nice!

Yeah, I think Mao wearing sleeveless dresses would look great also. But I do think that her light blue Clair de Lune costume was one of the best she's worn. It just looked so elegant and mature flower .

I saw this picture on Mao's Facebook fanpage. I've never seen her fan spiral from that angle, but now I just have even more respect for Mao's skating and skills! Imagine the strength and muscle she must have to hold that position and on that edge too Shocked
http://www.facebook.com/photo.php?pid=3278641&op=27&o=global&view=global&subj=10875554708&id=653409301

And thanks everyone for all the responses to my question! I really enjoy reading all of these different perspectives! And it's also nice to read constructive criticism instead of pure bashing that I've read on other forums =/. Good to know that Mao's programs attracted some lay fans in spite of the criticism she got by some commentators.
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PostSubject: Re: Mao's 09/10 programs from a different perspective?   Mon Apr 05, 2010 4:42 am

iceskatingfan wrote:

I saw this picture on Mao's Facebook fanpage. I've never seen her fan spiral from that angle, but now I just have even more respect for Mao's skating and skills! Imagine the strength and muscle she must have to hold that position and on that edge too Shocked
http://www.facebook.com/photo.php?pid=3278641&op=27&o=global&view=global&subj=10875554708&id=653409301

Wow, impressive! Shocked She has absolutely the best fan spiral ever! No question about that. Yep!
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PostSubject: Re: Mao's 09/10 programs from a different perspective?   Tue Apr 13, 2010 6:58 pm

I was just looking at ontd_skating (a snarky livejournal community for skating), and I was a bit surprised at how many people put Mao for their favorite ladies LP in this poll:

http://community.livejournal.com/ontd_skating/238573.html?page=1#comments

A lot of them are new fans, some of them are old fans, but even Masquerade Waltz got votes, which I think is pretty interesting.
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PostSubject: Re: Mao's 09/10 programs from a different perspective?   Tue Apr 13, 2010 7:21 pm

Wow, it's nice to see that Mao's LP got a lot of votes too!

And I agree with the poster who said that Mao had a lot of guts to do something different Yep! .
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